March 19, 2010
Light, Sound aur Dibakar
How many times does it happen that during the 8.30 am ‘first-day-first-show’, you also have one of the lead actors watching the film? It happened today. The actor was Raj Kumar Yadav, who plays the lead in the second story of the film, with his bunch of friends, to cheer at the CBFC certificate and clap at the rolling credits. The film was LSD – which is going to be remembered as one of the gutsiest film ever made in this country. And if you ask me, it is one of the better made ones too.
Everyone is talking about the use of digital cameras in the film, that shake, that go out of focus, that even get stained by blood and water. They are talking about how ‘different’ it is in its theme, style and use of unknown actors. But it is not the elements that make this film different and significantly better than most of others, it is how the director uses them - an evidence of how cinema can be created by a basic understanding of the medium, of picture and sound, and storytelling, and how a style can be carved out of the technology you use. And this technology, as Godard et al taught us, need not be expensive or state-of-art.
There are scenes in the film pictured in long single shots – as there is just one evident hidden camera. Unlike other films, here you do not have multiple camera setups, so you can not cut between shots – unless you want to use the obviously jerky jump-cut (which in my opinion often breaks the dramatic build-up of the scene). So, you obviously can not ‘cut time’ and hence the scene occurs in real time, giving you not only dialogue but also the pauses between them – those significant, dramatic moments between the conversations. And to add to that, there is no background music here, only ambient sound. By something as basic as this, the director has managed to create unforgettable cinematic moments and deeply affecting scenes. This is just one of styles adopted by LSD – that makes it truly different, as far as Hindi films are concerned.
You will find so many similar small but brilliant international films in festivals. This time, thanks to the producers, we have one such gem from India, released commercially. I pray for its success – it will help not only independent and digital cinema, but Hindi cinema in general. After Khosla ka Ghosla and Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!, with LSD, Dibakar Banerjee establishes himself as one of those few men in our industry, who know cinema, and who have an expression of their own. And I must congratulate and thank him for proving once again, that to make a good film you hardly need budget and stars. You just need to have a story you are dying to tell, and the cinematic vision, the heart, and a little guts, to do that.